Step into Central Florida’s agricultural fields as infants and toddlers start as seedlings and develop into ripe, bright, sweet fruit. This gallery is for the Museum’s youngest visitors. Children and their families will understand the importance of farming to our area and understand where our food comes from. Inside Watermelon Seeds will be the new home of Family Fundamentals, a United Way of Central Florida initiative to provide free early learning opportunities to low-income families. 50% of the Museum attendance is under the age of 5 and yet the current Museum only dedicates 200 square feet to their specific learning needs. Watermelon Seeds will be 15 times the amount of space they currently have and designed using current research in developmentally appropriate practices.
High tech and low tech come together to practice design thinking with open-ended, child-designed building projects. From cardboard to kinnex, a variety of materials are available for kids to tinker, fail, redesign, and try again.
The Front Yard
This 7,000 square foot outdoor, enclosed gallery will celebrate the Florida under our feet as kids travel through time to dig up marine fossils and follow how Central Florida’s iconic alligator got here. The centerpiece of The Front Yard is a 100 foot long, 23 foot wide climbable alligator. Relax in calming sensory swings hung throughout the body, slide down the tail, or make music with the xylophone plank tongue.
Step into the whimsical world of dramatic play. Everyday, local storefronts will have a comic-book intrigue to their look and children will explore the world around them. Shop at Publix and report live weather through social dramatic play. Almost 80% of the brain develops before age 6 and the dress and the dress-up, pretend play that happens here directly influences each of those neural synapses or brain connections. Scientists have shown a direct link to mastering this type of play and learning how to read and write.
A mixed used space intended for performance art, traveling exhibits, special events, and rentals. It features sprung wood floor for dance performances, AV room for professional controls, and a room divider to break up into two medium rooms. This fully flexible space will be used for everything from children’s theatre to professional development trainings.
A sixth gallery space is also in the plan, which will be co-designed with the exhibit firm and help bring something creative and customized to our community.
Explorations V Children’s Museum is an incredibly special institution. A Museum that has brought engaging, exploratory learning to Polk County for twenty-eight wonderful years. The Museum’s success is due to smart management, a lot of hard work, and a community that believed in our unique learning environments.
The Museum is committed to serving children and families for many years to come. As our area continues to grow and the needs of children evolve, we must push ourselves to do better for our community and visitors.
We were honored to be approached by another nonprofit and asked to partner with them. This partnership means one of the greatest investments in quality of life, cultural development, and environmental education in Central Florida’s history. It is our honor to share with you that Explorations V Children’s Museum will be the anchor institution at Bonnet Springs Park.
Bonnet Springs Park is a 200+ acre parcel of forestry, natural spring, and lake that is being restored and re-imagined. The new Museum will anchor along an amphitheater lawn, be within walking distance to a restaurant, and be a meet-up point for walking trails to the environmental education center across the Park.
Explorations V Children’s Museum will continue to operate independently and be our own nonprofit.. This is a true partnership and one that we know will bring generations together for memories full of exploration. We will continue operating in the Historic Kress Building for at least the next two years. This includes our critical services in kindergarten readiness and financial education. Our community commitments will continue to be part of our mission-driven work.
Board and Staff at Explorations V Children’s Museum
109 N. Kentucky Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801-5044
(863) 687 - 3869
Members & Children Under 2
Children & Adults
Seniors (65+), Teachers & Military Families (with ID)
Access/EBT Cardholders with ID Maximum of 4 per card
Monday – Saturday
9:00 AM – 5:30 PM